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Truck drivers temporarily exempt from gig worker law in California | News

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A federal judge in California has issued a temporary restraining order on the application to independent truck drivers of a new employment law due for enforcement in the state this week. 

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California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), otherwise known as the ‘gig economy law’, entitles temporary workers to greater labour protection, including minimum wages, paid sick leave, unemployment compensation and health insurance, benefits that do not usually apply to the gig economy. The law would make it harder for gig economy companies to qualify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. However, it also makes it harder for trucking companies to sub-contract independent operators for spot haulage jobs during spikes in demand. 

The California Trucking Association (CTA) challenged AB5 in the federal court, claiming the law would forbid carriers from contracting with owner-operator truck drivers, which represent more than a quarter of the state’s truck drivers (equal to around 70,000). 

“Given the realities of trucking, it would be impracticable, if not impossible for CTA’s motor-carrier members to provide interstate trucking services by contracting with independent owner-operators and to simultaneously comply with California’s onerous requirements for employees,” according to the CTA’s amended complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Judge Roger Benitez of the US Southern District Court ordered the state not to enforce AB5 against any motor carrier in California, pending a final resolution of the lawsuit brought by the CTA.

Speaking to Automotive Logistics, Dennis Manns, industry consultant and North Motors Group executive vice-president, referred to the legislation as a game changer for OEMs.

“This legislation has been gaining traction with several eastern US states and is a major issue for OEMs and car haulers,” he said. “Many carriers sub-contract excess capacity from time to time and OEMs rely on the sub-contract business to fill their surge demand needs. The [AB5] law would have major implications for every OEM since all of their suppliers utilise independent owner/operations.”

Manns suggested the law would have a significant impact on new product launches as well as a sales push for month-end or financial close for OEMs. The ‘what if’, he warns, is will the implications spread to other supplier employers?

California’s gig worker law was introduced by California State Assembly member Laura Gonzalez and signed by governor Gavin Newsom in September last year. It has gained national attention, owing to the size of California’s workforce and the state’s role in establishing policies that are frequently adopted by other states.

The law would arguably make it harder for gig economy companies to qualify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Backers of the bill, including labour groups, have suggested the law protects workers’ rights. A hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction is set for January 13, 2020.

The future of the finished vehicle sector in the US will be discussed in detail at this year’s Finished Vehicle Logistics North America conference which takes place May 19-21 in California

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How Proposition 22 Blocks Cities and Counties From Giving Hazard Pay to Gig Workers

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Haney added that Proposition 22 has given gig companies legal grounds to sue and block an ordinance like this if they decide they don’t want to comply with it.

“Sometimes, as a local government, we are preempted by the states or feds, but usually when that’s the case, another regulatory body or the state Legislature is taking up the responsibility,” Haney said. “What’s the case here is that some regulations that were written into law by the companies and passed by the voters have made it impossible for anyone to provide more extensive and stronger regulations.”

Rey Fuentes, a legal fellow at the Partnership for Working Families, said California cities and counties have a history of pioneering progressive pro-worker legislation, like San Francisco’s paid sick leave program, which he said was the first of its kind in the nation.

Fuentes said it’s important for municipalities to test new policies out so that there are models for state and federal laws. “This allows for the experimentation that I think is so vital to our democracy and to developing good policy,” he said.

While grocery stores are pushing back on the hazard pay by temporarily closing locations and threatening legal action, gig companies don’t have to. Proposition 22 stops local governments from even trying to get higher wages or better benefits for gig workers, halting local experimentation with policy that could help the state’s growing number of app-based gig workers who are denied employee benefits and protections.

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IIROC Trading Halt – GIG.P – Yahoo Finance

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UK Deliveroo riders to strike over pay, gig work conditions

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Wednesday, April 07 2021
AP

LONDON (AP) — Riders for the app-based meal delivery platform Deliveroo held a strike in London Wednesday over pay and working conditions, part of a broader backlash against one of the U.K.’s biggest gig economy companies.

Scooter and bicycle delivery riders waving flags and red smoke flares rode through the streets of Central London. Socially distanced protests were also planned in York, Reading, Sheffield and Wolverhampton to demand fair pay, safety protections and basic workers’ rights.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain, which represents migrant and gig workers, expected hundreds of riders to take part.

Deliveroo said that “this small self-appointed union does not represent the vast majority of riders who tell us they value the total flexibility they enjoy.” Rider surveys found most are happy with the company and flexibility was their priority, the company said in a statement.

The strike coincides with the first day of unconditional share trading for Deliveroo, which went public last week in a multibillion pound stock offering that was one of Europe’s most hotly anticipated IPOs this year. However, a number of institutional investors skipped the initial public offering, citing concerns about employment conditions for riders and a dual-class shareholder structure that gives founder Will Shu outsize control.

The company, which operates in a dozen countries in Europe, the Mideast and Asia, saw its business boom over the past year because of COVID-19 restrictions that powered demand for meal deliveries. More than 6 million customers order through its app each month and the company promised some longtime riders bonuses from the IPO.

However, riders say they haven’t been sharing in the success because the company has been paying them less.

The “success they claim to have had during the pandemic was built on our backs,” said Wave Roberts, a Deliveroo rider in Reading and vice chair of the union’s couriers branch. “It’s not sustainable. It’s got to the point where they’ve hired too many people. They’ve lowered the fees too much.”

Deliveroo and other gig companies in the U.K. that rely on flexible workforces are also facing looming regulatory challenges, after the U.K.’s top court ruled Uber drivers should be classed as “workers” and not self-employed, entitling them to benefits such as minimum wage and pensions.

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For all of AP’s tech coverage, visit https://apnews.com/apf-technology

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Follow Kelvin Chan at www.twitter.com/chanman

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This story corrects Roberts’ title to vice chair of union’s couriers branch.

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